This article is part of a series on labyrinths. Additional information, especially about the history of labyrinths, is available in many of the previous articles listed below. Author, Managing Editor, Meryl Ann Butler, is a founding member of The Labyrinth Society and has been building labyrinths since 1992.
Labyrinths are walked for many reasons, including to lower stress, and enhance wellbeing.
Veriditas is inviting anyone interested to join them for an online Finger Labyrinth Walk and Meditation every Friday in April. This coming Friday April 10, the event will be held at 1:00 pm Pacific (4 pm Eastern) via Zoom.
There is no fee, but participants may register here.
The session will be led by the Reverend Dr. Lauren Artress, Canon of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco and author of three books on the labyrinth. Her first book, Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Practice, was instrumental in launching what is now known as The Labyrinth Movement.
The American Cancer Society states that walking labyrinths "may be helpful as a complementary method to decrease stress and create a state of relaxation."
Research conducted by Dr. Herbert Benson at Harvard Medical School's Mind/Body Medical Institute has found that focused walking meditations are highly effective at reducing anxiety and eliciting what Dr. Benson refers to as the relaxation response, which can:
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower breathing rates
- Reduce incidents of chronic pain
- Reduce insomnia
Labyrinths are different from mazes, although the terms are often used interchangeably. To labyrinthophiles, the two differ greatly in definition, design and function:
A maze offers several paths to choose from, and making one's way through a maze therefore engages logic and analytical processes, and is focused on achieving a particular outcome. Mazes often have walls designed to obscure the view of the correct path.
A labyrinth has only one path. Therefore, there is no need for walls or hedges to obscure the view, and most labyrinths, unlike mazes, are flat, or relatively so. Walking the labyrinth is not done to achieve a goal, but in order to experience the journey. Most people report experiencing a feeling of peace, joy, or wellbeing as a result of walking the labyrinth's unicursal path.
7-Circuit Classical Labyrinth
(Image by Meryl Ann Butler, collage from public domain image) Details DMCA
Labyrinths have been experiencing a public revival in schools, hospitals, libraries and places of worship, as well as in private spaces, as virtual labyrinths online, or as small, printed patterns to walk with a finger.